Forget Haptic Feedback - Jaguar Sees a Bright Future Ahead for Knobs

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

You don’t need to suffer from metathesiophobia to be uncomfortable with the wide variety of changes in the modern automotive industry.

Monostable shifters provide no firm detent when you’ve selected Drive, and often require a separate button for Park. Handbrakes that offer a level of modulation are quickly disappearing, replaced by electronic parking brakes. Touchscreens that require multiple menu steps — and seconds in which eyes are diverted from the road — are increasingly part and parcel of new car purchases at high and low price points.

Change is happening so fast and so often and in such unnecessary ways that there was much rejoicing when Honda revealed the 2018 Accord with both a volume and tuning knob, as if that was a bigger story than the dead V6, the discontinued coupe, and the seats being moved closer together to create an aura of space.

Fortunately, Jaguar will remain among the puritanical ranks. Jaguar will stick with the spartans. Jaguar will forego flashy transformations for the sake of primitive positioning. Jaguar’s climate controls will be operated via knobs for the foreseeable future. For old times’ sake.

Say what you will about the mama jaguar leading the baby jaguar across the forthcoming E-Pace’s windshield. Condemn Jaguar if you must for fleeing the persistent retro XJ design for the decidedly different X351 XJ styling since 2009. Question the necessity of adding excessive TVR-like boy racer addenda to the otherwise gorgeous F-Type sports car.

We can still all agree that Jaguar has a strong climate control knob game. In the world of upper-echelon climate control knob designs, Jaguar surely ranks near the top of the leaderboard. These knobs weren’t inherited from the fourth-gen Mustang during Jaguar’s tenure inside Ford Motor Company’s Premier Automotive Group.

Jaguar wants to keep it that way, AutoCar reports. While many automakers are positioning climate controls inside touchscreen infotainment units and many others utilize buttons to select higher and lower temperatures, Jaguar won’t adopt such new world tendencies.

“I’m a great believer in tactile controls with a mechanical feel,” Jaguar design director Ian Callum says. “It’s not quite right for Jaguar to have just touchscreens.”

Amen, brother. And so let it be.

[Images: Jaguar]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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  • Claytori Claytori on Aug 05, 2017

    This is what Ontario's Highway Traffic Act has to say- Display screen visible to driver prohibited 78 (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway if the display screen of a television, computer or other device in the motor vehicle is visible to the driver. 2009, c. 4, s. 1. Exceptions (2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the display screen of, (a) a global positioning system navigation device while being used to provide navigation information; (b) a hand-held wireless communication device or a device that is prescribed for the purpose of subsection 78.1 (1); (c) a logistical transportation tracking system device used for commercial purposes to track vehicle location, driver status or the delivery of packages or other goods; (d) a collision avoidance system device that has no other function than to deliver a collision avoidance system; or (e) an instrument, gauge or system that is used to provide information to the driver regarding the status of various systems of the motor vehicle. 2009, c. 4, s. 1. Same (3) Subsection (1) does not apply to the driver of an ambulance, fire department vehicle or police department vehicle. 2009, c. 4, s. 1. While this does allow some functions to be placed on a screen, it appears that anything related to the entertainment systems is illegal use. The restriction to "information" appears to prohibit the screen from being used to control those systems. Are all these things illegal?

    • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Aug 06, 2017

      I would say subsection e covers it and allows it. The screen is providing information related to the operation of the infotainment system. I don't know of any car that will actually display "entertainment" on the screen out of the box while moving, just information about it. My M235i would play DVDs on the iDrive screen when the parking brake was on, but not while driving.

  • Koreancowboy Koreancowboy on Aug 07, 2017

    I rarely use the hard buttons on my CRV, just the steering wheels controls for the radio.

  • The Oracle This thing got porky quick.
  • Kwi65728132 I'll grant that it's nicely kept but I'm not a fan of the bangle butt designs, and I know better than to buy a used BMW while living anywhere in the world other than in the fatherland where these are as common as any Honda or Toyota is anywhere else.
  • ChristianWimmer When these came out I thought they were hideous: now they’ve grown on me. This one looks pretty nice. Well-maintained, low mileage and some good-looking wheels that aren’t super fancy but not cheap-looking or boring either, they are just right.
  • Aja8888 Someday in the far away future, all cars will look the same, people will be the same color, dogs will be all mixed beyond recognition, and governments will own everything. That car looks like my son's Hyundai Tucson without badges.
  • Tassos Of course, what the hell did you expect? A SERIOUS, BEAUTIFUL car you can ACTUALLY USE AS YOUR DAILY DRIVER???............. NOOOOO, THIS IS TIM WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. SO HE FINDS SOME OBSOLETE POS WHICH IS 22 years old, .............AND HE PURPOSELY MISSES THE BEAUTIFUL MODEL, THE Classical Beauty E39 that ended in 2003. ...........So he uses his column as a WASTEBASKET once again, to throw the first year of BMWs BANGLED 5 series (as in the INFAMOUS CHRIS BANGLE WHO SCREWED UP THE DESIGN ROYALLY). ................................................ As Dr. Evil, Fake Doctor Jill Biden would scream at the top of her voice, so her senile idiot husband could hear her, "Good Job, (Tim)! You answered all the questions and ticked all the boxes!" ..... KEEP UP THE S---Y work, Tim!